"How are you?", I said after giving her a hug and holding her hand a little longer than normal.
" I am starting to feel the holiday blues. You know, it's that time of the year", said my dear friend who lost her daughter too early. It was a cold Monday night in Denver downtown. The city already lit up for the holidays.
I loved her honesty. I loved her not falling in to the "I am fine" trap. I loved her recognizing right where she was with a teary glance in her eyes.
Over the last couple of weeks leading up to yet another Thanksgiving without you, I have stated over and over again in my mind that we're on this journey together forever. I have to get through the holidays without you every year with you being in my memory, but not physically at our table. Each year being slightly different. Each year bringing the obvious screaming fact that you will not be celebrating the holiday with us in your beautiful physical presence. Grief counselors and grief specialists have already stated it. Grief is not linear. Grief is not something that just disappear after a certain amount of time. Time can heal, but we're in it together. Forever.
I have seen your flattering eye lashes and your beautiful eyes in front of me. It comes as a flash back when I least expect it. I see the rest of your face, I hear your sighs, but the focus is on your eyes. It was hard for you to have your eyes fully open due to the energy needed, and now I appreciate more than ever those half open eyes with thick black eye lashes. Sarah and I were always envying those long eye lashes that sometimes got stuck in your eyes. You inherited them from aunt Jenny.
Jacob, I can say that I survived yet another holiday. In fact, we had a very lovely Thanksgiving with our best friends. I will love my friend forever to remind us all of your last Thanksgiving with us, and how you told us "I love you". No Thanksgiving will ever pass by without me thinking how you shared your blessing with us all the Thanksgiving of 2015. We continue to make "your" ornaments you put in to factory during the month of December to make sure all your teachers, therapists, and nurses got a special hand made gift from you. I love that you sister wrote "Love Jacob" on the ornament I silently created this year. We always have a lot of fun crafting together.
The holiday had me slow down, which was great. I slept, I exercised, I had time with your dad and sister, I caught up with friends, I baked, I cooked, I nurtured a cold.
And I decorated our home for Christmas. I love to transform our home for the holidays. I go all the way out. Every room has Christmas decorations, and so many ornaments come with a story. It's a gift I cherish each year as I am unpacking boxes of holiday memories.
I enjoyed the most to put up our Christmas tree in the basement, one of many trees in the house. This tree is full of memories. It took me down memory lane. It reminded me of all our years together. Sarah and I laughed as we remembered times in the past. Sometimes, we had to think twice if the ornament came from her or you. I cherished each moment. I cherished the past visiting the present. I cherished the fact that we have so much happiness wrapped up in a plastic tree.
You made this ornament in kindergarten with your teacher.
The ornament you made at Gemma's before you got to see Santa and tell him you wanted a "Minion fart blaster" from Santa.
Gosh! I created this ornament in 2009 during a 2 months hospital stay when we didn't know if you were going to make it home at all. You proved the doctors wrong, and we got to hang this in our tree.
My favorite ornament you made at Coyote Ridge. I am not sure what it is, but I love it.
You and I in 2009! It was a really rough year for you when we started to see the true face of mitochondrial disease. Another ornament I made in the hospital that year.
I spy a Minion! I am not sure what year you received this ornament.
You created this ornament your last Christmas. You had a terrible day of seizures, but decided to craft with Gemma's boys no matter what. You put so much effort into this one snow man.
I think you got this angel your first year of Christmas. We knew you needed an angel to watch over you!
I am grateful for all the memories we made. I am grateful for the life we lived together. I am grateful for all the life lessons you taught me. I am grateful to be your mom.
And as hard as it is some days, we're in together - forever.
Sweet Jacob, I love you to the moon and back,